You Can’t Make Mistakes Unless You Try

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Well, if you read yesterday’s post about the work I did on our new car, I’m pleased to report that my wife drove it all the way to the grocery store and back, and almost everything is working the way it was before. Almost. Okay, a couple of red lights are on. Something about sensors being blocked. Aw, c’mon! It’s just sensors! Besides, at least we know the lights work.

Yes, I’ll have to take a look at that. I’m sure we missed a connector somewhere. That’s minor compared to the first problem she reported. Seems the car wanted to just take off and go all on its own. Like really fast. Apparently, somebody installed the floor mat on top of the accelerator. Somebody who looks a lot like me. At this point, I’m not sure she trusts me to put gas in it.

Okay, so things didn’t go exactly according to plan. That’s par for the course, even if you’re an expert, which I’m not. It’s a little scarier when it comes to a car not slowing down like it’s supposed to. On the other hand, we know the brakes still work. That’s the part I actually messed with. Okay, that and the entire front frame of the car. But let’s not go there.

I’ve often said the only people in this world who never make mistakes are the ones who never do anything in the first place. Okay, I usually say that when I’m the one who made the mistake, but you get the point. If you try, anything at all, sooner or later you’ll screw something up. That’s inevitable. The best we can hope for is to minimize the damage and do better next time.

Now, I know what you folks are thinking. Why did I work on the car, but my wife was the first one to get behind the wheel and give it a test drive? Because sometimes you’re the one who packs the parachute, and sometimes you’re the one who uses it. I don’t know! We finished late, I was tired, my back hurt, and I never took it for a spin. So, shoot me.

It’s a lesson I learned years ago. Test your work. Don’t put away the tools until you know the job was done right. It not only gives you peace of mind, but there’s something a little gratifying about hitting the brakes and the car actually stops. Especially when there’s a bag of “extra” hardware in the console between the seats. Don’t ask.

The point is, we all make mistakes. I could easily have blamed the floor mat installation on my son-in-law, but I’m pretty sure that one was my fault. It’s certainly not the first mistake I’ve ever made, and if I live to see dinnertime, I’m sure it won’t be the last. On the other hand, one more mistake like that and I may not live long beyond dinnertime. But that’s another story.

What’s important is that we raise our hand, own up to the blunder, and move on. It’s really hard to argue with somebody who says, “I did that – it was my fault.” Oh, you may still have a few choice words, but arguments tend to stop when both sides agree. And with that out of the way, you can focus on the root cause, make corrections, and move forward.

Because that’s the ultimate goal, no matter what went wrong – moving forward. There was something you were driving toward in the first place, a goal or dream, or maybe just a trip to the grocery store. Something got in the way. Are you going to let that ruin your day and bring your plans to a grinding halt? Or are you going to fix what’s broken and keep going?

Fixing a problem begins with acknowledging its existence, and the role we played in its evolution. We can point fingers all day, and others may very well share some of the blame. But until we look in the mirror and fix the only person we truly can fix, the problem will never go away.

I got lucky on this one. Fixing the floormat was easy and, as it turns out, those warning lights were just system alerts triggered by cold weather and a fogged-up windshield. Nobody got hurt, and we’re ready to continue the adventure. A month from now, we won’t even remember this. Well, I won’t.

Mistakes will be made. Some will be a lot bigger than others, but most are easily corrected if we just take ownership of what went wrong and continue moving forward. Success is what happens when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. Blame never solved anything. Get up, dust yourself off, and take a bow. Whatever mistakes you’ve made, they won’t be your last.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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